Setup in Windows 8 and Visual Studio.

I joined the Developer Division almost 2 years ago. When I announced the move I spoke about my new focus on the short and long term of setup on Windows. In the Windows 8 keynote and the Developer Preview bits available now you can see the results of both. It all starts in the keynote when Antoine Leblond comes on stage and fires up Visual Studio.

  1. Setup in the Build - all Metro-style apps must be registered before they can be launched (even to debug). To register you need your application's setup information. That means setup is in the build; just like it should be.
  2. Setup Designer - given that setup is required from the very beginning there is a designer (aka: manifest editor) to make the common tasks easy. You saw Antoine click one thing here during the demo. I keep telling the team, "We will be incredibly successful if devs spend near zero time in the designer."
  3. Packaging into a new Format - when you are ready to send your application off to another machine, you put all the binaries and the setup information into a new package file called an .appx. This process happens via the Package command in Visual Studio and isn't necessary to debug (which makes F5 much faster).
  4. Upload to Windows Store - with .appx in hand you can upload it to the Windows Store. You'll find this and more in the Store menu.

Basically, Antoine demoed all of our features in the keynote. If you follow me on Twitter then you might have caught a little bit of excitement.

Then Mike Angulo announced that everyone is getting tablets with a special build of Windows 8 with Visual Studio Express for Windows 8 preinstalled. This announcement touches on the other half of my job: Visual Studio setup.

It starts with Burn. You won't see it because Visual Studio is already installed but it's there. Bob Arnson found evidence in the temp folder. I haven't tried but you may be able to see the new VS setup UI by going to ARP and clicking the Change/Uninstall button. I think the new VS setup UI is a fantastic example what can be built on top of Burn.

Our team was also responsible with a lot of the image creation and hand offs to Windows to put the whole Windows 8 Developer Preview build image together. Lots of coordination and lots of effort was necessary to deliver all the bits that you now have on those Samsung tablets or can download freely.

Setup is the foundation for it all.

Over the next few weeks, I'll dig into more details about both the short (WiX v3.6) and long (Win8) term view of setup. I'm so happy we can finally discuss details publicly.

In the mean time, keep coding. You know I am!


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